U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Hears Chesterfield County 'Fortune-Telling' Case

December 10th, 2012 § 0 comments

Last Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard the case of Patricia Moore-King, a psychic reader from Chesterfield County, Virginia.

As I wrote about last year, King challenged the ‘fortune-telling’ statute in Chesterfield County after being denied a business license back in 2009.

She argued that her work constitutes free speech according to the US Constitution, and that the zoning laws and onerous license procedures necessary for her to obtain a business license inhibit her freedom of expression and discriminate against her based on her beliefs, viewpoint, and content of expression.

In October of last year, U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney Jr ruled against King’s argument claiming that her form of counseling was inherently deceptive and therefore not protected by the Constitution.

King appealed the decision, and it was this appeal that was heard by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday.

Though King’s lawyer, Roman P. Storzer argued that his client’s freedom of speech and religion were at issue, Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III commented that he thought the case was more a question of licensing and zoning regulations.

Also at issue was whether or not King’s belief in a ‘new age spirituality’ is actually a protected religious practice or simply a chosen life style or philosophy.

It might take several weeks or even months before a final ruling on the case is made.

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